Our Treatment Processes

Ensuring the most sustainable and compliant treatment outlets for your healthcare waste.


At Sharpsmart, we offer bespoke solutions tailored to the specific needs and goals of your organisation.

We only work with partners and use technologies that can deliver a cost-effective service that offers proven environmental benefits.

We’ve invested and innovated in clinical waste treatment processes that ensure we minimise our environmental impact and also help our partners reach their carbon reduction targets.

Due to the nature of clinical waste, treatment via sterilisation or incineration is required to remain safe and compliant – we only use licensed, reputable, and sustainable methods to treat your waste.


How We Treat Sharps Waste

Sharpsmart developed and patented the unique Effluent Retention System – a revolutionary sustainable alternative treatment solution for medicinally-contaminated sharps waste.

Our Effluent Retention System:

  • Validates sharps waste for alternative treatment.
  • Provides a sustainable alternative to high-temperature incineration.
  • Has a permitted capacity of 8,000 tonnes per annum – and is growing.


In 2022, we treated 2,080.97 tonnes of sharps waste – saving 1,132.05 tonnes of CO2e



What Is the Effluent Retention System?

The Effluent Retention System (ERS) is Sharpsmart’s patented Sharps Treatment Solution that merges environmental responsibility with healthcare efficiency and compliance. This closed-loop process uses shredding, sterilisation, and a unique Effluent Retention System to ensure there’s no discharge of effluents to air or sewer throughout treatment. 

The Effluent Retention System is a sustainable alternative to high-temperature incineration, with the capability of treating over 2 tonnes of hazardous sharps waste per hour. It was born from a combination of factors:

  • Our intimate understanding of sharps waste.
  • Our commitment to a safer and more sustainable healthcare industry.
  • Our dedicated support of the NHS and the entire healthcare industry.


What Sharps Waste Can The Effluent Retention System Process?

Our Sharps Waste Treatment System was designed to process sharps waste under European Waste Codes:

  • EWC 180103*
  • EWC 180103*/09

Note: Above are the types of sharps waste processed using Sharpsmart’s Effluent Retention System, however, we’re fully capable of treating all sharps waste including EWC 180101.


How The Effluent Retention System Works

It’s a closed-loop treatment process that uses cutting-edge technology to seamlessly transform hazardous sharps waste into unrecognisable, non-hazardous floc that can be used as fuel to offset the use of natural resources and reduce carbon footprint.


The waste is shredded and put through a sterilisation process.


Steam from the waste sterilisation process is diverted through the Effluent Retention Process and condensed using ‘non-contact’ heat exchanger cooling water.


The solid residue (floc) from the plant is processed into a solid recovered fuel, used by cement kilns and power plants as a fossil fuel replacement.

Does Sharpsmart Treat All Healthcare Waste?

Whilst we can safely and effectively manage all healthcare waste streams across the UK, we don’t treat every waste type in our facilities – our in-house treatment systems cover sharps waste and infectious waste suitable for alternative treatment.

Our goal is to divert as much waste as possible from high-temperature incineration and into more sustainable outlets. Our solutions for offensive waste include compacting, refuse collection vehicles (RCVs), and working with trusted partners to divert waste away from landfill.

When it comes to the many other healthcare waste streams we manage, we only work with trusted partners to source the most sustainable outlets available and we’re always diligent in conducting duty of care assessments.

Our Sustainable Operations

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Our Washlines

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Standards and Regulations

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